BRONXVILLE, N.Y. - Since the academic year began last month, Bronxville Elementary School students have been busy training themselves mentally as part of a recently expanded program that utilizes mindfulness programs to improve achievement.
Since classes reopened - funded through a grant from the Bronxville School Foundation - all 35 elementary classrooms are now perfecting mindful listening and basic relaxation techniques as part of the district’s Yoga and Mindfulness program.
As part of the program, students meet with certified mindfulness instructors from Little Flower Yoga to practice techniques that will help them focus, increase their attention, physical wellness and emotional balance, according to school Psychologist Minu Thomas, who spearheaded the program.
During the 15-minute weekly sessions, the students learn how to reduce stress and anxiety by stretching muscles, closing their eyes and concentrating, regulate their energy levels and multiple breathing exercises.
Thomas added that by incorporating mindfulness into the classroom setting, students are provided a healthier, more balanced educational experience that will help them think critically and be more prepared to learn. She said that since the program has been expanded, the feedback from students and teachers has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
Moving forward, teachers will attend training workshops where they will be educated themselves about creative ways to incorporate such activities throughout the school day, providing students the chance to participate in alternate recess programs weekly where they can continue practicing yoga and mindfulness exercises.
“Mindfulness practice is associated with better frontal lobe functioning int he brain, and research has demonstrated that it improves executive function and enhances children’s socio-emotional, cognitive and academic development,” Thomas said. “We’re very excited to offer this program throughout the school, because all students and teachers can implement it very easily into the classroom.”